Ontario MP pushes for accident benefits reforms

Published: November 4, 2018

Updated: November 30, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Mandatory auto accident benefits cuts made by the Liberal party in Ontario during 2010 and 2016 need to be revised, argues the provinces opposing auto insurance critic.

“It’s something we need to re-examine,” Gurratan Singh, the New Democratic Party’s auto insurance critic, told Canadian Underwrite.

The cuts in question changes mandatory accident benefits, which were high in 2010. Under the laws eight years ago, Ontario vehicle owners were required to purchase first-party auto accidents benefits insurance. Mandatory coverage stated customers needed $100,000 in medical and rehabilitation benefits and $72,000 for attendant care.

In 2016, the Liberal government cut the benefits by 50% and returned in 2016 with further cuts. Reforms introduced on June 1, 2016 introduced a single $65,000 limit covering medical, rehabilitation and attendant care for non-catastrophic injuries. For catastrophic injuries, the law changed to allow a single $1 million payment for attendant care, medical, and rehab.

“We need to ensure that people get the coverage that they need if they get into an accident so they get taken care of,” Singh said today.

During this summer’s election in Ontario, the political runners used auto insurance as a debate point to attract voters. Since winning the government, the Conservative party has been largely silent on its plans for the troubled auto insurance system in Ontario.

Changes Tabled

However, one Tory MP has sought to end territory rate assessments for deciding auto insurance premiums in the province. Tory legislator Parm Gill of Milton targets discriminatory pricing. Insurers use where a person lives as a major factor in deciding the price they will pay for coverage. Gill says drivers in Toronto pay more than other customers simply because of where they live.

“Ontario’s auto insurance rates are amongst the highest in Canada despite having some of the lowest levels of accidents and fatalities,” Gill said. “Our government is committed to ensuring fairness in rate setting and ending discriminatory practices.”

Singh, a representative of Brampton East earlier this month called for a law that would require the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) to refuse approval for pricing systems that do not deem the Greater Toronto Area as a single geographic location.

“Drivers in the Peel region and other parts of the GTA continue to arbitrarily pay significantly higher auto insurance rates than anywhere else in the province,” Singh said.

“It will make sure that insurance companies are not allowed to gouge people simply based on the neighbourhood they live in or the municipality that they live in,” the MPP said.

In his latest critique of the auto insurance system in Ontario, Singh says a complete reform is needed. “We need almost a complete overhaul of the auto insurance system in Ontario,” said Singh.